We finally have an internet connection I was stubborn and shopped around for the best deal, but had to go with a satellite connection. We are in the river valley and it was hard to get line of sight. I’ve got plenty to write about concerning our new year of homesteading.
I’ve done a lot of it – moving. I hate it. We pared our possessions down to a minimum – I could pack and move in about two hours – and I still hated it. Homesteading again will have some different challenges, so I had to buy some things and keep others that I would not have chosen to move.
Canning jars for instance. Who in their right mind moves empty jars? Me, if indeed I am sane. Cannign jars are expensive, they last for years, and they are hard to replace except by spending more money. I got almost all these jars for a pittance. People here ar eno longer canning. They still do where I am going, so I don’t expect to find canning jars at rummage sales for $1 a box anymore.
I am moving bags of flour. The Loblaw’s chain store here had flour on sale at $3/5 kilos. That’s about 11 pounds. I bought eight bags. It is in the freezer right now; I will take it out today, seal it into plastic bags, and move it. Grain products are outrageously expensive in Canada. We grow grain, I know. Why are we paying so much more than Americans?
I have bought some kitchenware that I know won’t be available in New Brunswick – Ontario has a larger, wealthier population, and they discard higher quality goods sooner, so this all came from rummage sales and thrift stores.
I am moving fabric, even scraps. There isn’t that much of it – it amounts to three half-full garbage bags, which will pad things in the trailer. Again, cost and availability are factors. Once this supply is used, I will be haunting the remnant bins and thrift stores for bargains. Occasionally someone has cleaned out a closet or even a relative’s house and given me good fabric. I just received some good wool pieces that way. I see on Kijiji that treadle machines are sometimes available; I hope to get one in the next year. They are probably long gone in Ontario, turned into decorative end tables.
I still have a box of vet supplies (not drugs) and my electric sheep shearers, as well as my hand shearers. I was tempted to offer them for sale, but now I’m glad that I procrastinated. I don’t know if I am proficient enough to offer my services shearing, but if a friend will let me practice on her sheep, I might get good at shearing again so as to hire out in the spring. Shearing is dirty, hot, strenuous work – it’s the main reason wool is a high labour industry. Shearers get butted, kicked, bit and peed on. It is an Iron Man competition every day of the season.
I will finally get to unpack my spinning wheels! We have moved so much, and into such, well – genteel – surroundings lately that my wheels have been packed for almost two years. I have old wool to get washed and carded; I will probably take it to a mini-mill and just get it done, assuming any of it is worth keeping. Fairly clean unwashed wool will keep for a few years assuming insects and mice don’t get into it, although washed wool lasts for decades if it doesn’t get too hot or wet.
I feel as if we are pioneering, or headed to some foreign country, although we are going home, at least for me. It is a different life from the one we have been living. I am no neophyte to it; I know that these winter days will be filled with food preparation and craftwork – and not for recreation, but for our use and possibly income. It is a very slow pace of life. There will be reading, and sleep, and shovelling snow. There will be some exploration of our environment, and more preparation, as we look to gardening and keeping a few small farm animals.
I expect that if done properly our physical and siritual health will improve. I will have time to focus on Nicholas more. I look forward to the slow winter days.